Long Term Rehab: More Treatment, Less Trouble

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By its very nature, addiction is a long-term problem that requires a long-term solution. For those who have not found short-term treatment to be effective in managing their drug or alcohol use, long-term rehab can provide them with a real chance at lasting recovery.

Long-term recovery programs have been shown to be more effective than any other type of treatment for addiction, and for those who have had multiple struggles with substance use and relapse, it is the clearly preferred option for treatment.

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Long Term Rehab


Emerald Isle’s long-term rehab, which takes place in a residential or inpatient setting, is a type of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction that takes place over three to 12 months. Similar to other types of residential rehab, patients live at one of our treatment centers and receive round-the-clock care and support.

Residential rehab (whether short or long-term) is often preceded by detox, especially when there is a risk of withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines or opioids. These substances can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms if left untreated. To give each individual the best chance at lasting recovery, our team will evaluate patients during the intake process and may refer them to the appropriate detox facility before enrolling them in treatment.

After completing detox, patients meet with treatment staff and begin building their recovery plan. This includes identifying which therapies and techniques will be most suitable and preparing them for life after rehab with continuing care options.


Most addiction experts recommend long-term rehab for individuals struggling with drug or alcohol use. The longer someone stays in treatment, the more time they have to develop the tools and strategies for staying sober. They also have an opportunity to “reset” the brain and unlearn the bad habits associated with substance use, replacing them with healthier ones.

Long-term treatment is proven to be more effective than short-term stays. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has found that at least three months are needed for individuals to get sober and maintain a healthy lifestyle but recommends up to a year. This may seem like an extensive time commitment, but most people with addiction have faced multiple years of dangerous consequences from the disease. Additionally, patients can step down into less restrictive programs during this time, earning more freedom and flexibility.

Long Term Rehab - A woman holds her hands up in despair in her group therapy during the long term rehab she is in for addiction.


The need for long-term rehab is more easily understood when you consider addiction as a chronic condition. Unlike acute illnesses that can be rapidly treated, addiction involves deeply ingrained patterns of behavior that can’t be resolved overnight. Quick fixes, such as short-term detox programs, may offer temporary relief but often fail to address the underlying causes of substance use disorders. Sustainable recovery requires a comprehensive approach, utilizing tools like behavioral therapies, counseling, relapse prevention, peer support and more to build a strong foundation for a sober lifestyle.

Imagine a person who has had years of difficulty controlling diabetes. That person is likely to encounter numerous health complications from high blood sugar, such as kidney disease, nerve damage, vision problems, foot amputation, or a combination of several of these. Skilled nursing might be recommended to address these issues so that the underlying disease can be effectively managed. Long-term rehab for drug or alcohol addiction functions in much the same way as skilled nursing for chronic medical conditions like diabetes.

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Long Term Rehab


Research shows that long-term rehab is ideal for most people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. One study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that people who stayed in treatment longer had better outcomes in key areas like drug use, mental health and employment status. The study also highlighted the importance of ongoing management in treating substance use disorders, similar to approaches used for other chronic diseases.

Typically, long-term rehab is recommended for the following patients:

  • Individuals with a long history of substance abuse
  • Those who have relapsed after short-term treatment programs
  • People with co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Individuals lacking a stable, supportive environment at home
  • Patients who require a structured environment for recovery.
  • Those who benefit from a prolonged period away from their usual environment to break the cycle of addiction

While the amount of time you spend in rehab is ultimately up to you, long-term treatment can help you build a strong foundation for lasting recovery. If you have a severe addiction with co-occurring mental health concerns or a history of relapse, long-term care is your best option. However, if your drug or alcohol use is less severe, a 30-day program may be more realistic. During the intake process, our team of caring professionals will perform a thorough evaluation to help you decide which length of treatment is right for you.


At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, our goal is to help individuals achieve lasting sobriety with extended treatment programs and a full continuum of care. Long-term rehab begins at the residential level of care, but patients may step down into a less restrictive program as their needs change, such as our partial hospitalization program (PHP), intensive outpatient program (IOP) and standard outpatient program. We also offer aftercare services to support individuals in their recovery and minimize the risk of relapse after rehab.

While enrolled in long-term treatment, patients will experience a comprehensive approach to recovery that allows them to explore the underlying causes of their addiction, address mental health concerns, participate in a wide range of therapies and establish healthier habits and routines. They’ll also become part of a supportive community of peers with similar goals.

Some of the evidence-based techniques that we incorporate include:

  • Residential care
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Recreational therapies
  • Mental health treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Trauma work
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Transitional support and step-down care
  • Relapse prevention
  • Life skills education
  • Support system development
  • Aftercare planning

Compared to short-term programs, long-term rehab provides increased medical support and therapeutic treatments, which is beneficial for those with severe addictions or co-occurring mental health concerns. Long-term treatment can last from three months up to one year, depending on each patient’s treatment plan, needs and goals. However, even a long-term program, with its extended time and resources, may not be sufficient to address all of the damage caused by substance use. Everyone and every addiction is different.

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for Long Term Rehab


The most popular versions of long-term rehab are based on a model called therapeutic communities (TCs). According to NIDA, within this approach, “addiction is viewed in the context of individual, social and psychological deficits, and treatment focuses on developing personal accountability and responsibility as well as socially productive lives.”

Treatment centers like Emerald Isle Health & Recovery that offer treatment using the TC model provide patients with wraparound services for acute care, long-term care and continuing care. It also helps people with addiction who also have concurrent needs, such as:

Long Term Rehab - A woman is consoled during group therapy at the long term rehab center for addiction treatment.


When someone has both addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, it is known as a dual diagnosis. Co-occurring disorders can complicate the treatment of drug or alcohol addiction. Without mental health treatment, the presence of a mental health condition makes it more difficult to treat addiction, and vice versa.

However, when both the mental health condition and addiction can be addressed, outcomes for patients with co-occurring disorders can be excellent. This approach takes time, and long-term rehab is well-suited to the treatment of co-occurring mental health concerns.


Substance use can lead to a range of physical ailments, such as liver disease, dementia, abscesses, kidney failure, dental problems and more. During long-term rehab, medical professionals will work with you to address these issues holistically as you focus on your recovery. The TC model will also help you understand and manage your medical needs.


When the consequences of addiction have been long-term, they often result in frayed relationships and unstable community support. Addiction can also drain a person’s finances, resulting in large-scale debt, foreclosure, evictions, back taxes or bankruptcy. A loss of housing is a common consequence of addiction and substance use.

In long-term recovery, a staff of specialists can help you find stable housing or temporary sober housing if it meets your needs.


Addiction often brings people into contact with the law. The disease can result in legal problems like driving while intoxicated, gun violence, property crime, theft and assault. Understanding these issues in the context of addiction can help you deal with them more effectively. In some states, a court will allow you to show that these matters resulted from addiction and give you targeted and appropriate conditions for you to rehabilitate.

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When you are choosing between different types of long-term rehab programs, you’ll need to take several factors into consideration, such as:


Do I need to stay close to home? Is it far away enough that I will not be distracted by harmful influences and triggering situations?


Is a short-term rehab best for my personal needs, or would long-term rehab be more beneficial? Am I a candidate for an extra long-term rehabilitation program?


What treatment services does the facility provide? Can I get treatment for my co-occurring mental health concerns? Can I keep my primary care physician?


Do the methods, style and approach of this recovery center fit with my needs? Does it use effective, evidence-based treatment?


If I need long-term rehab, will I be able to access it? Will insurance help cover the costs? Interestingly, insurance programs like Medicaid are more likely to pay for long-term rehab than other forms of rehab, in part because of the strong evidence behind its effectiveness.


At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we accept both private insurance and Medicaid to help you pay for long-term rehab. Because a lack of adequate coverage shouldn’t prevent you from getting the help you need, our team will do everything we can to help you navigate the insurance process. Don’t hesitate to call us today for free and fast insurance verification.


Taking that first step toward recovery can feel daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we understand the challenges of addiction and are here to support your journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Our dedicated team offers comprehensive long-term rehab programs tailored to meet your individual needs. Reach out to us today, and let us help you start your path to recovery and lasting wellness.

Get started by calling us at 855-613-0630 or completing our online contact form. Our friendly and compassionate team is available 24/7 to help you learn more about your treatment options and begin the admissions process. At Emerald Isle, we firmly believe that with long-term rehab, you will finally have the opportunity to live a healthy and sober life.